Wages of fraud – 2 year prison sentence is just the start

(cross-post from Attestation Update.)

I’ve been following the corruption case in the city next to where I live.  This post describes the sentencing and additional consequences of the fraud.

The mayor was accused of accepting bribes from a local business in return for helping them get back in business. In April 2012, he pled guilty to one count of bribery. The remaining 9 charges were dropped at the sentencing.

Yesterday he was sentenced to two years in federal prison.

The sentencing is reported in the Daily Bulletin’s article, Ex-Upland Mayor Pomierski sentenced to two years in prison for bribery.

At the sentencing, he read a letter which included the following comment:

“The last two years have been difficult. I lost my wife, lost my friends, lost work and the job I loved the most, being mayor of Upland,” Pomierski said. “I was dead wrong. I know I will pay for it. I already have paid for it in the last two years in some way, shape or form.”

The tragedy of fraud

Before you say that a two-year sentence is light, keep in mind that trials are risky. For the mayor, there is a chance he could have been convicted on all 10 counts and faced an extremely long sentence. For the prosecutor it is the same. Their case could have fall apart. A negotiated two-year sentences a good settlement on both sides.

Let’s look at some of the other penalties.  I will take his comment in court at face value because I know nothing more about his situation than what I’ve read in the newspaper.

Here’s a list of the wages of his scheme:

  • Two years in prison. 730 days and nights.
  • His wife left him.
  • Many of his friends have abandoned him.
  • He lost his construction company, which was the source of his income.
  • He has filed for personal bankruptcy.
  • He lost his job as mayor.
  • He is a convicted felon, a status that will never go away.
  • His friends, family, and everyone who knows him now knows he has confessed to accepting a bribe.
  • The tale of his felonious behavior will be visible on the ‘net for decades to come.
  • His grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren who decide to research their ancestry will get to read all about this incident.
  • When released from jail he will never get a job that requires any licensing. He will never work in construction or public service again.
  • He will be 60 years old when released from prison. It’s likely his only retirement income will be Social Security, which is a severe change from what he was expecting just three years ago.
  • His future standard of living will be a small fraction of what it’s been the last several decades.

That is a serious amount of consequences. I don’t go through that list because I’m sorry for him. He deserves it all.

I go through that list of consequences because I wish fraudsters were somehow able to ponder the severity of consequences before they engage in their shenanigans.

Update 8-27-12: One of the secondary players has been sentenced after pleading guilty to two charges: conspiracy to commit bribery and making false statements.  Of note is that lying to the feds during an investigation will likely get you a felony charge.  See the Daily Bulletin article Hennes sentenced to six months prison, six months house arrest.

4 thoughts on “Wages of fraud – 2 year prison sentence is just the start

  1. One minor comment – it is technically possible for a felony conviction to go away, if you can get a pardon. As an example, Patricia Hearst, convicted of bank robbery, was pardoned by President Bill Clinton, an act which erased her criminal record and restored her civil rights.

    But despite this legal change, the image of Hearst holding a gun during a bank robbery is something that will not go away.

  2. You are correct. A governor or the president can issue a pardon. I think there is also some way to get civil rights restored without a pardon, based on things I’ve seen. Executive clemency can get you out of jail early.

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